Archive for August, 2009

His…forever!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

“And I will make you my promised bride forever. I will be good and fair; I will show you my love and mercy” (Hosea 2:19 NCV).

heavenly-sunsetThat’s a pretty incredible promise from God, is it not? I found this verse in one of my devotional books this morning with this statement from Max Lucado, “God doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants us to be His.” With this in mind we can understand why sometimes we’re not happy. We can be right slap dab in the center of God’s will and not be having a good day. If our happiness is resting on our circumstances, then we’ll struggle. God isn’t very concerned about our happiness, He just wants us to be His. Once we have settled our relationship with Him, then there is a joy that dwells within us even when we’re unhappy. I notice on Facebook pages, especially young people, that they put “Not happy today…” or “Unhappy, feeling blah…” or “I’m really sad today…” and then within a blink of an eye their status changes to “These are the best days of my life!” Why? Because happiness is based on our circumstances, and circumstances change in an instant. Joy, on the other hand, is based on a solid, grounded relationship with the Lord, one that doesn’t change with the wind. He longs for us to be in a personal relationship with Him, and He promises that we will be with Him, His bride forever. That’s His desire! Not that we’ll be satisfied and “happy” with our current status. But that we will spend an eternity with Him, praising Him forever!

Looking at our circumstances with an eternal perspective, life is good (or least we know it’s going to be one day!) He promised to be good and fair, to show us love and mercy. So hang in there, God loves you and He longs for you to be His…forever!

Hope

We wear His name…

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I was listening to an old NewSong CD this morning and felt the truth of these words…

That’s why we’re here

We wear His name

The name above all names

We wear His name

In a world that’s lost in hopelessness

We’ve been called to be the light

We wear His name

jesus-tshirtThen I went in to Christian Supply and there were tee shirts, necklaces, bracelets, etc. that display the name of Jesus Christ. And I thought how appropriate. We can choose to physically wear His name – or not. For me, I don’t like to wear busy tee shirts. That is an option that is neither here nor there to our salvation, to our witness. But if we have accepted Christ, then spiritually we wear His name, not an option. It’s a part of our spiritual wardrobe that we do not choose each morning as we’re picking out our clothes. We wear His name by default. How we display it is the choice. We can wear it boldly, proudly and with pure motives, or we can bring shame to His name.

Prayerfully in a world that’s lost in hopelessness we recognize that we have been called to be the light – much like my devotional this week on being a beacon. We are called to be the light to those who are wandering in darkness. They need someone, someone like you and me to share our faith and shed light on their brokenness. We’ve been called – will we answer the call or will we bring shame to the name above all names?

We wear His name!

Hope

God never gets tired…

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary…” (Isaiah 40:28).

Sometimes I feel like I have been stretched as far as I can stretch, my availability has been long extended, my “want tos” are expended. But not God. He never gets tired. He never wakes up weary (He never sleeps!) So because He never gets tired, we can never “tire Him out” by taking all of our cares and needs to Him.

Leigh & Me @ Cherry Grove Beach Aug 09

Leigh & Me @ Cherry Grove Beach

My sister, Leigh called me this morning at wits end. She is struggling in her new role as a single mom, carrying the entire load of parenting – spiritually, physically, financially. She feels like she’s crumbling under it all. All I could encourage her to do was cry out to Jesus. When we find He’s all we have, we find He’s all we need. He never gets tired of hearing our call, He’s never at wits end, we cannot frustrate Him. He loves us so much. All He wants is for us to trust Him – allow Him to fight our battles, allow Him to right all wrongs, allow Him to carry our load.

What are you carrying around today? Are you falling under the weight? Cast your cares on Him – He never grows tired or weary. He is saying to us, “Bring it on, kids!”

“Be humble under God’s powerful hand so he will lift you up when the right time comes. Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:6 & 7 NCV).

Hope

Let God use your dirt…

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

“The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see” (John 9:11).

The Pool of Siloam

The Pool of Siloam

What is the dirt in your life that has you blinded to God’s goodness, to God’s love for you? Maybe you’re not trusting in the Lord for fear of the dirt in your life. Jesus used dirt to heal the blind man. Imagine when he went to the waters of Siloam and washed his eyes the beauty that he beheld! He opened his eyes and for the first time he saw the sun bouncing off the water, he saw the water as it rippled in the wind, he saw for the first time trees, birds, sand. For the first time he saw his parents, his friends. But most importantly, for the first time he looked into the face of his Savior, the One who healed Him.

In order for us to look into the face of our Savior, we must allow Him to use our dirt to open our eyes. Don’t waste the mud in your life! Allow it to open your eyes to Who God really is. If we ignore the mud, it will only cause a bigger mess. But if we allow the dirt to bring us into a closer relationship with the Lord, the yucky mess is not in vain.

What dirt do you have blocking your view of the Master? Allow the Lord to use that dirt to open your eyes to Who He is. He is the Healer, the Sustainer, the Forgiver, the Master of All. Let God use your dirt to make you into a master piece for His glory. He’ll clean up the mess!

Hope

A beacon of light…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Remember the old song, You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine…there’s a little light in all of us by God’s design. You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.

I’ve had that tune on my mind today. Here’s the definition of beacon…

Beacon: an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location; a tower with a light that gives warning of shoals to passing ships.

beaconAs Christians, we are a beacon of light to the lost. We must be intentionally conspicuous in leading them to Christ. We must attract attention to a specific location…Christ. They pass by us everyday and if we do not shine our light and provide a beacon, they will hit the shoals. The beacon is no good if the light is not on or the fire is not lit. It serves its purpose during the day but at night, when things and times are very dark, there must be a light in order to guide the ship to safety. So it is with our witness for Christ. If our light has gone out due to distractions, frustrations, anger, bitterness, or the dangerous condition of complacency, we are not serving our purpose. Those without Christ live in a world of darkness (unbeknownst to them). They need our light – and when we shine they will be attracted to it.

You can’t be a beacon if you’re light don’t shine (not grammatically correct but I didn’t write the song). God has instilled in each of us a light when we accept Christ. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine! Be a beacon of light today…protect others from the shoals.

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47).

“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Hope

The chase is on!

Monday, August 24th, 2009

As our Prayer Committee was praying on Thursday morning someone prayed (can’t remember who it was) that they would chase someone with their prayers. It was catchy to me but I didn’t think much about it again until this morning.

We have an appointment next Friday, September 4th for Caleb to tour Coastal Carolina. He’s also interested in USC and College of Charleston. We’ve talked a lot about college and applications and scholarships, etc. over the past few days and reality is setting in. I haven’t had my usual breakdown from the thought of Caleb leaving home but rather just the seriousness of him choosing a college, a career that will set his future in motion. A career that will mold his identity, what he’ll “be when he grows up.” Maybe he’ll meet his wife in college. Maybe he won’t! Just so much to take in and process. And I thought, “I will chase Caleb with my prayers!”

praying-handsEverytime I’m tempted to be anxious or concerned about Caleb’s future, I will chase him with my prayers. He will leave me and go somewhere to college and if he’s like most, I’ll be lucky if he comes home more often than just the holidays. I can’t be with him – but I can chase him with my prayers! He’ll never know I’m doing it! He won’t have to fuss at me for annoying him, he won’t have to tell me I’m getting on his nerves, he’ll never know I’m chasing him. But there’s nothing greater that I can do and nothing more effective than praying for him. Oh yeah, the chase is on!!

What or who is it in your life that is tempting you to fret or worry or be anxious? Whatever or whoever it is, chase them with your prayers. Prayer always frees us up from responsibility. If we give it to the Lord, we’re no longer responsible for the outcome. Pray this prayer for your situation as I pray it for Caleb…

“Father, I will not stop praying for Caleb and asking You to fill him with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And I pray this in order that he may live a life worthy of the Father and may please You in every way” (Colossians 1:9 & 10).

“You will pray to him, and he will hear you…” (Job 22:27).

Hope

What are your chariots?

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:7 & 8).

chariotWhere do you put your trust? Is it in a stable job? Maybe your trust is in a relationship, your pastor, a Christian friend, the government (heaven forbid!). What are your chariots? I pray that you have no chariots or horses in which you place your trust. Our trust must be in God and God alone. His name alone can part the sea, calm a storm, hang the mo0n, tell the ocean “Woe!” when it reaches high tide. At the whisper of His name racing, anxious hearts have been quieted and calmed, tears of sorrow have turned to tears of joy. His name alone allows us to rise up and stand firm when our legs do not feel like they can hold us up. His name alone brings hope to the hopeless, life to the lifeless!

What are your chariots? Where is your trust? I assure you that if it is in anything or anyone other than the Lord God, you will be disappointed and you will get hurt. Put your trust only in Him and you will find that you need nothing or noone else. The middle, center verse of the Bible sums it up…He must have wanted us to keep Him in the center.

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8 KJV).

Hope

Turn your back on the noise…

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

How noisy is your life right now (either literally or figuratively)? Is there so much going on around you that you cannot even hear yourself, or your heart, think? Good grief, sometimes I feel like my life is one big whirlwind. When we get so caught up in the turmoil and all the pulling to and fro, we can easily lose focus. I like a quote from Max Lucado…

“Turn your back on the noise and listen for His voice…”

sheep-shepherdThis makes me think of sheep and the shepherd. It doesn’t matter how much “baaahhhh”ing is going on, all the shepherd has to do is call the sheep’s name and that sheep hears his voice if he’s listening for it. So it is with us. There’s an awful lot of baaahhhing going on around us and if we’re not intently listening for our Shepherd’s voice, we will get overwhelmed with the noise. Turn your back on whatever noise is going on around you. Just stop – dead in your tracks, turn your back on whatever is distracting you, and listen for the Father’s voice. He is calling your name. As a gentle reminder, He speaks very clearly through His Word.

Turn your back on the noise. My prayer for you is…

“that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:20).

Hope

Divine Power!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Yesterday morning, Father, I met with other moms at Christian Supply for “Back to School Prayer Time.” There were moms with children from pre-school age to college age to grandmothers who carry a burden to pray for their grandchildren. We are so dependent upon You and it seems that each new school year reminds us of that dependence again because we recognize that the one thing we desire more than anything in the lives of our children is that they would walk in Your truth and in relationship with You. Our greatest desire is that our children “know You” – whom to know is life eternal. There is no greater blessing our children will experience on this earth than knowing You and understanding that all other things are lesser in comparison to knowing You! 

 

So how do we battle for those things most important? You remind us in II Corinthians 10:3-5 that we don’t “wage war like the world does. The weapons we fight with have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish strongholds and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The divine weapons You have given us are prayer and the Word of God – Eph. 6.

 

You have awakened me during the night to prepare for a Moms In Touch informational this morning. You have taken me back to the basics of praying for my children and to the power of corporate prayer. We will never understand this side of eternity the power and impact of prayer. You tell us in James that “the fervent, effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much.” Much! What does “much” mean to You? I want to know!

 

When Hannah was just a toddler You introduced me to the ministry of MIT – mothers meeting to pray for their children and their schools. When she was beginning the third grade and Michael was beginning kindergarten I began to meet with some other mothers to pray on a weekly basis – that was 13 years ago. Bless Your name! I wouldn’t trade one of those hours for anything this world could offer me! Prayer is an eternal investment that will outlive us! Today, Michael began his senior year of high school and sat in his first college class, Andrew began his sophomore year and Mickey began his 25th year of teaching – for this one year all three of my guys will be in the same school. My heart cry remains the same – allow my men to know You, to walk with You and use their lives for Your eternal purposes.

 

Oh Father, as we begin another year of school pour out on Your people a spirit of prayer and supplication on behalf of our children. Help us recognize our need of You and our dependence upon You! Our children are in a spiritual battle. They are on the front lines. Oh Father, raise them up and strengthen them to be mighty warriors for the cause and banner of Christ. And let us keep our eyes upon You! In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!    

 

 

“Nothing Shall Offend Them!”

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Lord, You know that I have asked You that every time You open an opportunity for me to share about Your faithfulness during this journey that You allow me to share it with “freshness.” I never want to be as “sounding brass and clanging symbols.” I am always desiring a fresh word from You myself. I desire to speak Your truth in love. So I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that it seems I always have a difficult day the day before I am to share – up during the night, tender and missing Hannah during the day. The reality is that any opportunity You give me to share comes as a result of my daughter getting cancer and not being on this earth with me and that always seems to “come fresh” to me again. The reason I can speak of and know the reality of who You are and Your sufficiency in a deeper way in my life is in part because of this journey. A friend said to me last night, “You know why you always have a hard day the day before you share, don’t You? It is because You asked the Lord to always keep the story fresh.” So I suppose I thank You for keeping Hannah and this journey “fresh” for me.

 

You are continuing to work with me and bring healing to places that continue to be tender. It seems those “tender places” always seem to surface just before I am to share. The scripture You gave me this week was one I had written down several weeks ago and in Your mercy for me You brought it to my attention. “Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 KJV  The NIV reads, “nothing shall make them stumble.” I know that is what You are desiring to do in my life – You desire to bring me to the place where nothing will “offend me” or “make me stumble” because I am finding my peace in You and in Your word. I love that scripture Lord and I want You to write it in the deep places of my heart so that it becomes a part of me. 

 

It reminds me of my friend whose husband came to live with You at a young age. She said that You continued to allow her to let go of more and more things – You continued to open her hand – to allow less and less to “offend” her. I remember her saying that three years after he came to live with You..  It is a process Father, isn’t it? Healing is a journey. I am a mother and my children are at the very core of who I am. That hurt, that loss, those “tender” places – you can’t explain them away. They are part of the reality of the loss you experience and sometimes they lie just beneath the surface waiting to rear their heads. Oh Dear Father, continue to bring healing to my heart and allow less and less to “offend” me.

 

 

 

Last night I read a statement I had written a few months ago in my journal. It reads, “Personal experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.” I have lived the reality of You walking with me through the flood. I know the reality of Your presence in the heat of the battle. I also read last night, “Noah went into the ark and set up residence within the walls of the ark.” He set up residence! What a beautiful picture. Oh, he was in the storm, alright, but he was kept safe within the walls of the ark. He lived in the safety of the ark while he rode the storm. You continue to speak to my heart through the life of Noah and I am so looking forward to getting back to that study!

 

I wouldn’t have picked this journey, Lord. This is not an easy journey. I don’t think most walks of obedience are! The reality that Hannah is not here with us is with us 24-7, every minute of every day. You have brought forth much fruit as a result of this journey and continue to do so. That blesses our hearts and we give You praise. You have given us a whole new way of “seeing things.” I believe You desire for us to have hearts of compassion for others and You give us compassion through our own suffering.    

 

Lord You proved Yourself faithful again this week, despite my weakness, and I give You all the praise. You are true and steadfast. You are a rock, a refuge in time of need! Bless Your name. For every precious lady who was present on that night of sharing continue to encourage their hearts with Your truth and set them free. For the mothers who had lost children – one after it was carried in her mother’s womb for 7 months and another at the age of seventeen as the result of an accident – minister eternal truth to their hearts and bring the healing only You can give. In the name of Jesus, Amen.